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Darkness Falls and Seasons Change

Matt Ross @ 1:00 AM


Today we will return to late winter. Expect cloudy skies when you wake up, gradually giving way to the sun. Winds will be stiff out of the northwest as temperatures remain steady in the upper 50s during the afternoon. Expect cold and windy conditions tonight as lows near the freezing mark. Wednesday and Thursday will be seasonably cool and breezy with highs in the 50s. The cool to cold weather will continue into next week.

Pictured Right: The National Cathedral right after sundown yesterday, courtesy of photographer Ian Livingston

Patrick's Day Forecast

March 17, 2006: Unfortunately for Guinness or green beer drinkers, St. Patty's day is happening on the wrong Friday. Unlike last week, expect cloudy skies with some light showers possibly mixing with snow. Highs will be in the mid 40s. Enjoy and be safe.

Late March Snow

As we have a couple of snow possibilities over the next week(see more in the SLCB), we might as well looks at climatology and late season DC snow. As you might expect, climatology does not support a lot of late season snow events in the metro area. The combination of sun angle, global patterns, and increasingly warm average temperatures(average high now 55) all lead to rapidly decreasing chances of snow after March 15th. We have only received measurable snow after April 15th one time in recorded history. A half-inch of snow fell on April 28th, 1898.

In the last 30 winters at National Airport, we have only seen a total of 3.9" fall after March 15th in 5 separate events. Only in one of those events did we see over an inch of snow fall. March 24th-25th, 1990 saw 2" fall at DCA. The other 4 events in chronological order were 3/21/88(0.4"), 3/20/90(0.4"), 4/7/90(0.2"), and 3/18/94(0.9"). Note that the 1990 snows as Steve mentioned, all fell after the record heat wave of mid-month as discussed last week. Needless to say for snow lovers, climatology dictates our chances for measurable snow over the next month are not good. Perhaps I will look at Dulles Airport's(IAD) late season snow climatology next week should there be a possible storm in our forecast. IAD due to elevation and location typically does better in late season snow events. Some readers may remember the over 4" of thundersnow that fell in the western suburbs on March 29, 1984 for example, while no snow was recorded in DC. However, no matter what your location, if you like snow, don't hold your breath.

A beautiful haze hovers over DC early yesterday morning. Eventually it would give way to sun and a high temp of 85. Courtesy of photographer Kevin Ambrose

Snow Lover's Crystal Ball

Next Chance of Accumulating Snow: Thursday, March 16th - Friday, March 17th
Probability: 20%
Potential Impact:
Commentary: As another winter weather pattern takes hold over the Northeastern U.S., we have a couple of snow possibilities to mention. 1st is a weak low pressure system that will arrive from the west, Thursday night into Friday. Right now, the best dynamics of the system look to scoot to our north. Most likely we would just see a period of light rain, possibly changing to non-accumulating light snow. There is another larger and potentially stronger system arriving from our southwest early next week. It is still way too early to focus in on any details, but climatology, as noted above, argues strongly for a rain event or a wet snow event that mainly affects grassy areas except for the far north and west suburbs and mountains. Stay tuned.

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